© Cristina García Rodero. VEGAP, Madrid, 2022
Popular culture, religious faith, pagan practices, humans’ relationship with the land, and ancestral rites are some of the motifs Cristina García Rodero portrayed in her series España oculta [Hidden Spain], published as a photobook in 1989, which included the photograph La confesión. The publication received the prize for best photobook at Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles [Rencontres d’Arles International Photography Festival] jumpstarting the photographer’s international career.
In pursuit of discovering visions of a hidden Spain, García Rodero traveled to romerías [pilgrimages] and popular festivities throughout the country that reflected a reality close to the “España negra” [Black Spain] worldview. García Rodero directed her humanist gaze—half way between the anthropological vision of Julio Caro Baroja and the formal realism of José Gutiérrez Solana’s paintings—to the persistence of traditions on the brink of disappearing.
This photograph depicts the moment in which an elderly woman receives the Sacrament of Confession at one of the outdoor confessionals installed during the festival of La Virgen de los Milagros de Saavedra in Lugo. Carefully framed, the image reflects García Rodero’s direct and humorous gaze that is not lacking in critical intent. The photograph captures a so-called decisive moment in the style of Henri Cartier-Bresson or Josef Koudelka.
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